Problem of ageing yet to be tackled
More than 132 million mainlanders are above 60 years of age and the elderly population is increasing at an alarming annual rate of 3.2 per cent, according to Xinhua.
Quoting statistics revealed at a national conference on the problem of ageing, Xinhua said the issue warranted serious attention from all levels of government.
The conference, which opened in Beijing yesterday, was attended by provincial cadres responsible for the elderly.
Although the mainland is becoming increasingly affluent, the problem of ageing has not been addressed adequately.
'A national mechanism to deal with the problem has not yet taken shape,' Xinhua quoted an official as saying. 'Our work [on the ageing problem] in the countryside remains weak.'
The 132 million elderly represent a 36 per cent increase over the 97 million recorded in 1990. The natural population growth rate stood at 0.8 per cent last year, meaning the 'grey population' - those who have reached 60 - is growing four times as fast as the population as a whole.
The Government is struggling to set up a social safety net as more pensioners retire from work, but lack viable pensions schemes.